03/10/2014 AT 6:25 AM ET
If you thought it had something to do with Woody Harrelson’s father-in-law – and this doesn’t constitute a spoiler, because that was too off-base to ever be possible – you were wrong.
In fact, just about every theory that cropped up online speculating about the finale of HBO’s terrific True Detective (and inspiring writers to mention the notorious ending of Lost) was wrong.
Now onto some real spoilers.
The resolution of the sprawling mystery of who was committing the ritualized serial killing of young women and children grew, with surprising directness, out of the very last shot of the previous, seventh episode: It seemed mostly to be the work of the so-called scarred man, whom we had glimpsed on a ride-a-mower in a cemetery (we’d seen him much earlier in the series, again on a ride-a-mower).
Former detectives Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey caught and killed the Scarred Man in the bowels of what seemed to be his own personal fortress, which served as a grisly crypt for his many, many victims.
In the aftermath, Harrelson and McConaughey both realized that this one awful man was not the whole story – what about the other disguised characters in that grainy old video? Who shot the video? Who, in the end, was the Yellow King? (Was it Scarred Man?)
And who, in a diabolical misapplication of folk craft, created all those little twig “devil traps” and littered them all over Louisiana? They could have been sold in gift shops.
Maybe this was all answered and I misunderstood. But I had just rewatched the entire series – and loved it – so I hope not.